Updated: Nov 8
Once a year, we highlight the ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The ones that passed in battle. The ones that passed due to battle injuries. The ones that suicided. The ones that lived a life trying to forget. The ones who lived and continue to live their lives, not forgetting. The ones who are still serving, the ones who are contributing and living in our society, in our families and social circle.
ONCE A YEAR!!!!
As a partner of a Veteran of war who suffers great consequences physically and emotionally/mentally, I want to share my own experience and perspective.
Suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) I witness John living in darkness 95% of the time. I witness him battling his active mind. I witness him crying, being angry, feeling guilty, feeling not enough, feeling responsible. I witness him having crisis, tremors, flashbacks. I witness him wanting this pain to stop and go away. I witness glimpses of laughter occasionally. I witness him having challenges trusting, creating relationships and connections. I witness his negative mood and thinking. His difficulty controlling his emotions, irritability and constant anxiety. I witness his physical challenges and pain. But more importantly, I witness a broken man not giving up. I witness resilience. I witness strength, courage, great loyalty and determination. I have great admiration and respect for the battle he faces every day. He is at war with himself daily. It is a war that doesn't seem to end.
What troubles me most is this: witnessing judgements and disrespect because of ignorance. It amazes me that people who should be educated and know better do not know better, unfortunately.
Veterans who live with the trauma of their experiences are not understood by all. By many I would say. There is this stigma attached to this condition. It is time for this ignorance to change.
Many have great difficulty transitioning from military to civil life. Many have families that are not equipped to understand them, support them during this difficult transition, even alienation can be experienced.
Living with someone who has PTSD makes you feel like you're walking on eggshells or living with a stranger. Most of the time, I need to take on a bigger share of household tasks and deal with the day-to-day decisions and problem-solving. Moments of surprise from their usual routine can turn their mind in turmoil and affect them for days, sometime weeks.
Many cannot hold a full-time job, many have addictions. Most spend their day fighting their minds, which trigger various dark emotions. Trying to be ahead and anticipate a reaction and "be ready for it' is next to impossible.
WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD DO is to have empathy, be supportive, patient (Don't Pressure Them), listen, show respect, not judge.
It will be 7 years this year that we are together. 6 of them we lived apart and one year ago he moved with me. It has been quite the ride.
The gift: Through all this we have helped each other learn A LOT about ourselves. We are both better people since we’ve met one another, despite all the challenges.
My dream: That John heals AND
PEOPLE STOP HAVING JUDGEMENTS AND DISRESPECT ABOUT SOME VETERANS’ BEHAVIOURS AND THAT THE RECOGNITION WE GIVE ON NOVEMBER 11TH BE ALL YEAR ROUND not just on that one day.
So I invite all of you to reflect with truth and vulnerability about your own behavior and judgements about veterans, more importantly for those who are among us and struggling. And that the “honoring” of November 11th become a way of life throughout the year.